Approaching mental wellness in the workplace

Approaching mental wellness in the workplace

by Eunice Chua 25 Feb 2020

It’s rare to find anyone who has never been stressed by work. No matter what industry you're in, it’s completely normal for work to take a toll on your mental health. However, it doesn’t mean that it's okay for you to just sit by and do nothing. The next time you feel your sanity slipping, take the initiative to ask for a time out to recover.


Why is it so important to make sure your mental health needs are met?

Approaching your boss to ask for time off for mental health reasons isn’t a sign of weakness or inability at all. By respecting your mental health needs, you are showing initiative and consideration for the work you do. Being in a good mental state is crucial to productivity. The positive energy you carry will also spread to the people around you and create a far healthier work environment for everyone. Also, by being proactive about prioritising your mental health, you are also setting a good example for your colleagues who may be in similar situations but are too afraid to voice out their needs. In a nutshell, don’t be afraid to talk to your boss about your mental health needs because by doing so, you are showing that you are a responsible employee who takes pride in your work.


How to talk to your boss about your mental wellness

Mastering up the courage to actually book an appointment to sit down and talk to your boss is the first step. Here are the other aspects of having a proper conversation regarding mental wellness with your boss.

  • Choose the right setting

Pick a location and timing that you are comfortable with to have the big talk. Don’t pick a time when either of you has to rush off for another appointment as this can lead to a rushed, unfulfilling conversation.


  • Be honest and straightforward

Come clean with how you are feeling and explain why you feel so stressed and mentally drained. A good boss will appreciate the honesty and it will be easier to decide on a solution when you have laid all the facts out on the table.


  • Justify your need for a break

The hardest part of this talk is convincing your boss why you need that break. You need to put up a sound argument so use logic and facts – talk about how much companies that place a greater emphasis on mental wellness also enjoy greater productivity ratings. To emphasise your commitment to your mental health, show your boss how you intend to spend the time off. If you are going to see a therapist, let your boss know about it. This shows that you are serious about making the most of your situation so that you can come back as a stronger individual who can better contribute to the company.


The stigma of speaking up about stress and burnout in the workplace is real, but you need to remind yourself that you have the right to be healthy mentally regardless of your station. Suffering in silence only makes things worse, so start taking active steps towards owning your mental wellness and be confident about addressing your needs.